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Birdsong – Rumi

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Birdsong brings relief
to my longing
I’m just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!
Please universal soul, practice
some song or something through me!
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Years ago, I read a novel by Iris Murdoch, in which a young man becomes so obsessed
with the suffering of Jews in Nazi Germany that he kills himelf. I’ve always wondered
about this – how empathy morphs into self-indulgence.

And now, having watched NATO’s destruction of Libya, and the US/NATO/GCC’s support
of terrorism in Syria, it’s hard not to feel despair. Especially, each day, on twitter,
listening to Syrian people, in Syria, who suffer and have friends and family
killed while the Western media cheers and covers up atrocities by so-called “rebels”.

And lately this sadness for others and being unable to help, taints my own life.

A few years ago my youngest son went to hospital for an appendectomy. Having nothing to do
when he slept, I spent those days and nights sitting next to his bed and practising this
meditation taught by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:

“We begin by meditating on compassion and love for all living beings,
and developing a strong determination to take on their suffering and
give them pure happiness. With this determination we imagine that we inhale
through our nostrils the suffering, delusions and non-virtues of all living
beings in the form of black smoke, which dissolves into our heart and
completely destroys our own self-cherishing. As we exhale we imagine our breath
in the aspect of wisdom light, its nature pure uncontaminated happines, pervades
the entire universe”

Weirdly enough, my son and I both remember our stay in hospital with fondness, still.

When I watch the chaos all the “do-gooders” have unleashed on the world, I become
convinced that it’s only what we “do” in our own hearts which may change the thinking
of others and make war and suffering a future impossibility. The Hawaiian practice of
Ho’oponopono with it’s beautiful words, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you
and I thank you” confirms this, while Lao Tsu in the Tao Te Ching says:

“On the day the emperor is crowned,
Or the three officers of state installed,
Do not send a gift of jade and a team of four horses,
But remain still and offer the Tao.”

I’m fortunate to live in a place where sadness is soothed by loveliness.
Hoping for you that there’s much that can make the past lighter and bring joy to
your present.

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When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
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Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
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“My help is in the mountain
Where I take myself to heal
The earthly wounds
That people give to me.
I find a rock with sun on it
And a stream where the water runs gentle
And the trees which one by one give me company.
So must I stay for a long time
Until I have grown from the rock
And the stream is running through me
And I cannot tell myself from one tall tree.
Then I know that nothing touches me
Nor makes me run away.
My help is in the mountain
That I take away with me.
Earth cure me. Earth receive my woe.
Rock strengthen me. Rock receive my weakness.
Rain wash my sadness away. Rain receive my doubt.
Sun make sweet my song. Sun receive the anger from my heart.”
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(Animism, Panempathy and Human Healing – Michael W. Fox)

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I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

II
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

III
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

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